UC Berkeley’s recipe for preparing principals

Kyla Trammel-JohnsonUC Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute faculty say they have a darn good recipe for effective, stable school leadership: finding strong, “home grown” candidates and supporting the new administrators in their first three years on the job. 

The local institute celebrated its 10th anniversary this month. It has graduated 343 school leaders, and cites a 95 percent retention rate*.

[Home grown, defined: Candidates applying to the program “should” work at a public school in the Bay Area and have three years of teaching experience; they also must commit to working four years at a California public school after they graduate.]

Who are these graduates? you ask. Here’s a list of PLI leaders now in Oakland schools, courtesy of the PLI:

Chabot Elementary, Jonathan Mayer
Lafayette Elementary, Karen Haynes
MLK Elementary, Roma Groves (outstanding AP at Garfield 2008)
ASCEND Elementary, Larissa Adam
Lazear Elementary, Pia Jara (Rookie of the Year Principal 2008-09)
Learning without LImits, Leo Fuchs (Award Principal Fall 2009)
Manzanita Community School, Eyana Spencer
Bridges at Melrose, Clara Tarango
Burckhalter Elementary, Carin Geathers
Laurel Elementary, Ron Smith
Maxwell Park Elementary, Earl Walls
Sequoia Elementary, Kyla Johnson-Trammel
Community United Elementary, Patricia Ceja
East Oakland PRIDE, Viet Nyugen
Esperanza Academy, Sondra Aguilera
Futures Elementary, Steve Daubenspeck
Marshall Elementary, Maya Woods Cadiz
Roosevelt Middle School, Theresa Clincy
Frick Middle School, Jerome Gourdine
EOSA, Matin Abdel Qawi
North Oakland Community Charter, Carolyn Gramstorff

Assistant Principals
Whittier, Laura Smith
REACH, Liz Henry
Garfield, Susana Lowery
Westlake, Michael Hatcher
Frick, Tom Hughes
Roosevelt, Kevin Pattison
Skyline, Lorna Shelton
Edna Brewer, Cliff Hong and Aubrey Layne
Roots, Edith Jordan
Think College Now, Ruben Olivares (operational TSA acting like AP)
Leadership High School, (Castlemont campus) Ruth Mathis Bissell
Oakland Tech, Stacy Ross Morrison and Joshua Fuchs
Oakland High, Shoshanna Towers-Cabrera
Lighthouse, Josh Weintraub
Veronica Valerio
Gina Hill

District administrators
Lauran Cherry, coordinator of early childhood education
Heidi Boley, Math
John Rusk, SPED
Jane O’Brien, Summer and Afterschool

*As I understand it, the retention rate refers to graduates who have remained in leadership roles in public schools — not necessarily in the same position.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Iris Segal

    What an accomplishment. PLI is THE BEST! I am proud to be a coach in the PLI/LSP programs. How fortunate the principals and assistant principals are to have studied at UCB, wth Lynda, Janette, Norton and all the other accomplished instructors. Keep up the exceptional work on behalf of the children in Oakland, They deserve the best!

  • Edith Jordan

    My learning in PLI has changed me inside and outside! The critical thinking aspects of the program, familial atmosphere, and the coaching support has really allowed me to push myself in a reflective direction. I am grateful for PLI because it gave me the knowledge and capacity to not only believe in educational change, but it also gave me the tools to do so.

  • Pam VandeKamp

    As a proud PLI graduate from Cohort 8, I would like to include the names of the PLI elementary principals in the San Lorenzo Unified School District:
    Pam VandeKamp at Hillside Elementary
    Neal Bloch at Dayton Elementary
    Robert Patrick at Del Rey Elementary.

  • http://fmiranda@seq.org Francisca Miranda

    I am currently serving as the Deputy Superintendent in the Sequoia Union High School District with 10 years of high school principalship experience. I would love to serve as a coach for future aspiring administrators who want to become a principal. My experience is quite varied and would like to share it with the Director of PLI. I can be reached at the above email address or cell # 650.464.5813

  • Carolyn Howard

    I would like to bring to your attention that one very outstanding PLI leader was left off your list of star administrators in OUSD. Her name is Lauran Cherry and I had the pleasure of working with her at Carter Middle School before its demise. Lauran currently is an administrator who works with school age students in the Child Development Centers. It was through my work with Lauran that I came to know about this great program and the stellar administrators that it has produced. She deserves recognition as well!